Serenity – Artists on a Limb

birds-art-wordHello everyone and welcome back to Words on Art, where we invite artists and writers to collaborate and creatively blend brush strokes with words. We would like to thank Jessica for her successful writing submission, Sweet Oranges, chosen to complement Al Gord’s painting, titled A Changing Perspective. We would love to hear your feedback on this creative blend. Feel free to share your thoughts in the reply box below. Thank you Al and Jessica.


AlGord

I watch you leave and I am helpless

For despite your plea to stop the rain

I can’t hold back the clouds.

Your boots are wet, your heart defeated

Sweet oranges leave a trail behind you.


Our next Artists on a Limb feature is one of my own works from high school (seems like forever ago). It is acrylic on canvass, titled Serenity.

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We invite you to submit poems, captions, short stories and other words to capture the essence of the art. Please send your writing to wordsonalimb@bell.net (please include Words on Art in the subject line).

Artists, if you have an art piece you would like us to consider featuring on Artists on a Limb, please email us with Art Submission in the subject line. Please note, the art must be your original work.

Looking forward,

Lora

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Words on a Limb Interviews Maureen Fergus

543233The air is crisp and chilly in Winnipeg as fall descends on us. We had a unique opportunity to sit and talk to one of our favourite picture book authors, accomplished writer and mom, Maureen Fergus.

Born in Regina, Saskatchewan and raised in Winnipeg, she has lived quite a journey to arrive at her dream of creating multiple picture books, several young adult novels, including a wildly popular fantasy trilogy. She admits, that in spite of all her achievements, the one thing she values is most is the recognition of her many readers and fans.

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Maureen spoke to us over the phone from her beautiful home, apparently full of treasures (more on that below), in Winnipeg where she lives with her husband, three children, a hedgehog and the family dog Buddy, affectionately known as Sir Barksalot – handsome fella, no?

Here is her story. If you are a young writer, there is plenty of gold in this river.


Welcome Maureen, it’s a privilege to speak with you today. What kind of kid were you , how much of it has stayed with you?
Maureen at 4I’ve never been asked that, that is an interesting question. I was very studious, I liked school, I was a perfectionist. I loved a good laugh, I thought I was hilarious, that certainly hasn’t changed. The perfectionist thing mellowed a lot once I had kids. You sort of have 2 choices when you have 3 kids in 3.5 years. You can continue to try to be a perfectionist and go off the deep end, or you just relax a little and except that not everything can be in its place all the time.

But in terms of the way I think and I approach situations I think a big part of that has stayed with me. In fact, I can go back and have a very clear memory of who I was at 4, how it felt to be 4, how I saw the world at 4. I can see that vividly, even at the ages of 7 or 11. This really helps me as a writer because, when writing picture books or books for middle grades or for older teens, I’m not thinking from the outside looking in, I’m thinking what a kid would do or think. I really try to put myself back in that place to write.

Do you have any creations from when you were a child?
I actually have one story that I wrote when I was 10 or 11. It was about a super pickle that goes to Ottawa and becomes a member of parliament. I was just a rambling sort of story. As a young girl, I never really wanted to be a writer, it was never my objective. I was always much more interested in science and math. I did love reading – I would keep a journal, keep up with out-of-town friends through snail mail.

I remember one other story from grade 7. I had a perfectionist teacher. Every week we had to write a story and my goal was write one that would get a 10/10. So, I wrote a story making fun of how strict she was. I wrote about me turning over the table, kicking the garbage can and how Miss Shanks got really upset. Funny enough it was a piece of writing that most closely resembles what I’m writing 20 years after. I got 10/10 for that one – the only 10/10 she gave out that year, it appealed to the perfectionist in me. Fortunately, she pushed me to get in touch with the voice of the writer I was going to become. It wasn’t a moment where I suddenly recognized I was going to be a writer, but looking back now, I realized it was the first moment when I really tapped into what that voice was going to be. I would like to go back and let her know that, even though I did not know it at the time, she had a pretty profound impact on my 20 years down the road. Continue reading

Who Took the Cookies from the Cookie Jar???

handJar

Shhh, don’t tell them, but it was me!

Here is a fun and tasty idea for the first week back to school …


Print and cut-out enough cookiecookiesLyrics templates so that each student has one with their name written on the back (you may want to invite students who are able to write their name independently, to do so prior to beginning). Place all the cookies in a jar and with all the students sitting in a circle, introduce the song, Who Took the Cookies from the Cookie Jar.  While singing, pull out one cookie at a time and hold it up for the class to read. You may want to help by encouraging students to look at the letters for clues. For example, “This person’s name begins with the letter B, which makes a bbb sound.  I wonder whose name this could be?” If you like having your students wear name tags during the first few weeks of school, you may want to invite them to take off their tags at this point and look closely at the letters in their name. Throughout the day, continue to pull out more cookies from the jar until each child’s name has been called (if you have a small class, one sitting may do).

cookiesWritingYou might also want to revisit this activity with a small group of students or else with a different focus in mind (i.e., sorting: girls and boys, long names and short names; counting: number of letters in each name, number of students; graphing: organizing the information, etc.).  I like to repeat this activity several times during the first couple of weeks of school. Students are quite amused by it and it is a great way to learn each other’s names while learning important skills at the same time. As an extension, I prepared a follow-up writing piece where students are invited to write their name and draw a picture of themselves eating cookies (a great time for an art lesson).  While some students may be able to write their name independently, others may need to copy or trace the letters from their name tag (tracing over a highlighted name works well too).

cookieTemplatesThe jar can then be put to further use by placing it somewhere in the room for students to access during Centre/Play time. Depending on the various skills you introduced with the activity, students may want to explore some of them independently or in a small group (i.e., counting, sorting, etc.).


** To download a copy of the song, cookie templates and follow-up writing activity, press on the cookie jar below.

Please take a moment & let us know if you enjoy this Free Teacher Content by pressing  Like button or visiting us on our Facebook Page.

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Thank you and have a sweet and fabulous start to the school year.

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Lora

Everything is a Blur – Artists on a Limb

GravatarHello everyone, welcome back to Words on Art. 

We have chosen words to go along with Irene’s painting submission Venus. We had asked you to submit your words and captions and we’ve gone through the entries and have chosen a successful submission. Thank you to all who participated.  We would like to present Hernán’s words. Enjoy!

Thank you for your submission Hernán.


And just like that, you are gone
The emptiness is deafening
A harpoon has left a jagged hole in my chest
I am locked in a tomb.

Where has it gone wrong? What was said? Where did the end, begin?
It’s so quiet. I can’t see clearly, I can’t feel my arms, my legs, my soul.
I’m an emptied vessel, thrown out after use.
Everything is a blur.


For our next art piece, we are showcasing Jasmine’s sketch. Thank you for your submission! It is an untitled piece.

hugs


We are once again inviting readers to capture the essence of the art by submitting writing pieces (captions, poems, short narratives, etc).

To participate, please submit your words on art to wordsonalimb@bell.net. Please write Words on Art in the subject line.  If you have an art piece that you would like us to consider for our next showcase, please feel free to email us a picture.

Please note that the art pieces must be your own creation.

Looking forward to your next Words on Art.

Lora

Three Lessons My First Year in Teaching Taught Me

GravatarA young woman walks into a school, dressed in a tailored suit, just loose enough to mask her anxious composure. In one hand she holds a resume, in the other a leather portfolio.


“You can do this. You can do this,” she chants to herself, while quickening her steps, fighting an impulse to run back to her car. She heads straight to the office, looking for the principal. Minutes later, a tall bearded man steps out of the adjacent office and extends his arm.

“Hi, I’m Craig,” he begins and the young woman’s shoulders relax as she looks into his warm eyes. Phew, she can breathe again. “Yes, I received your resume this morning,” he explains. “We’ve actually just finished interviewing for all the positions we have available.” The young woman’s spirit sinks; but is reignited as he continues. “I have to say, though, I love your assertiveness and determination. How would you like to stay for an interview?” A smile breaks on the young woman’s face as the principal proceeds to call in other staff members to join in on the interview.

So began my journey as a primary grade school teacher. Continue reading

This is Not Goodbye!

f4939b9d9b4f5f90c8240245691056faGet out those lawn chairs, dust off the patio, find those sun hats you thought you’d never see.  Summer is finally here!  For us, teachers, this warm welcome is also accompanied by a departure, as we bid farewell to our cherished students.

In that honor, I would like to share a poem I wrote for my students marking this time of year.  If you read my last post, you know that for some students saying goodbye is not an easy task.  Well, this is not goodbye.

This is Not Goodbye!

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As I send you on your way,
There’s something I want to say –

Throughout the year I watched you grow,
Blossom into the gem we all know.
We learned, we played, we laughed a lot,
We built a castle where once stood a dot.

As you spread your wings and begin to fly,
Always remember it began with a try.
‘I can’t’, ‘I won’t’, was not permitted,
Fear and doubt should be omitted.

Be your best and try your hardest,
Read a lot to go the farthest.
Come and visit and say ‘Hi’,
See you later – this is Not goodbye!

Feel free to download a copy of the poem by clicking on the link below.

This is Not Goodbye !
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Thank you and happy Summer everyone!

Creative Commons License
This is Not Goodbye by Lora Rozler is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Silent Battle – Artists on a Limb

GravatarHello everyone, welcome back to Words on Art. 

Here is the last art piece we featured on Artists on a Limb. We had asked you to submit your words and captions to capture the essence of the art and were very pleased with the feedback we received.  Thank you to all who participated.  We would like to showcase the beautiful words sent to us by Aisha.

Thank you for your submission Aisha.


Silent Battle

I sit here in a crowded room,
And I am so alone.

I hear the voices of strangers,
Yet the silence is deafening.


For our next art piece, we are showcasing the work of Irene Berkovsky. Thank you Irene for your submission!

We are once again inviting readers to capture the essence of the art by submitting writing pieces (captions, poems, short narratives, etc).

To participate, please submit your words on art to wordsonalimb@bell.net. Please write Words on Art in the subject line.  If you have an art piece that you would like us to consider for our next showcase, please feel free to email us a picture.

Please note that the art pieces must be your own creation.

Looking forward to your next Words on Art.

Lora


Creative Commons License
Venus by Irene Berkovsky is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Every Ending is a New Beginning

cute-flower-girl-summer-sun-Favim.com-281317As the school year draws to a close, so does another year’s journey in both teachers’ and students’ lives.  For some children, this sudden abandon from all they have grown accustomed to (and love) is not an easy transition.

I recall, several years ago, when one of my beloved students had a very hard time ending the year.  Any time there was any reference made to the summer holidays, this otherwise happy-go-lucky girl, would break down into tears.  It completely took me by surprise (and melted my heart) when she confessed to being sad about not having me as her teacher anymore (she had been with me for both JK and SK). I consoled her as best as I could and we came up with a plan – she would come in to help me pack for the rest of the week and also be my special helper during recess the following school year.  It wasn’t an ending.  It was a new beginning.

It has been two years since, and this precious child still comes in every single day to help me.  I appreciate her dedication and support, but more than anything else I value the lesson she has taught me and continues to remind me of each day.  Regardless of age, background, title, position, etc., there is a beautiful bond that exists between people, if we just recognize it and let it flourish.

With that thought, I’d like to share a poem I wrote.  As I often do with my students (and family and friends alike), I would love to hear your interpretations of it.

Please let us know if you enjoy our content by pressing  Like button
or visiting us on our Facebook Page.

Thank you,

Lora


We Made a Pact

runningWe made a pact, he and I.
He’d come out and I’d join too.

We made a pact, not long ago.
He’d bring the warmth and I’d rejoice.

We made a pact, this much is true.
He’d light the sky and I’d lead the way.

We made a pact, but he bailed out.
Just like that, got up and left.

I searched for him as night crept in,
across the field,
between the clouds,
over the hills.

No sign of him.

I called to him but silence followed.
I grunted, frowned – I was not pleased.

I won’t forgive him.
I won’t. I won’t.

And now, because of his shenanigans,
Mommy said to go inside.

bedI ate my dinner but I was mad.
I brushed my teeth but I was livid.

I lay in bed, covered in heaps.
I won’t forgive this – we had a pact.

I tossed and turned and missed him so.
Perhaps I should forgive him.

I closed my eyes as sleep crept in.
Maybe, just maybe, I thought,
I’ll give him one last chance tomorrow.


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We Made a Pact by Lora Rozler is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Words

Featured


Softcover Marketing           


In this emotional and highly visual picture book, a lonely letter sets off on a journey
to find meaning. As it encounters various letter combinations, it is confronted by
two distinct paths and must make an important choice.

Readers of all ages will be captivated by this simple, yet high concept, story that explores universal themes of discovery, relationships and the need to belong,
with an underlying message about bullying.

Both timeless and original, Words is an evocative tale about how letters become words and words create meaning – meaning which could ultimately
build or destroy.


 “WORDS” Picture Book
Available at all major online and in store
retailers including:
  barnes_noble_samsung   chapters


Creative Commons License
Words by Lora Rozler is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

The Battle Within

08a37230a6bf842869d68b5ccc2ead17I remember the first time I sat comfortably in my own silence.

It was a short period of silence, I must say, but even so I took breaks occasionally to escape.

Escape myself.

The moments in between those breaks though, those exasperating moments of my own silent presence, were practically eating me alive.

At first.

See, I’m always all over the place. On average, I get about three or four hours of sleep a night (if I’m lucky). No need to mention how unhealthy that is – I’m fully aware. In fact I have a deep concern that my body may physically give up on me and simply collapse but until that is to happen, the chaotic habits would continue.

Continue reading